Boys Water Polo Advance to CCS Semifinals

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On Saturday afternoon, the boys water polo team completed a 6-5 upset in the first round of CCS playoffs over the Woodside Wildcats. 

The Bears started the game incredibly energetically and won the opening swim-off and then forced the Woodside goalie to make an early save. The ball went back and forth until the Wildcats found the back of the net first, making the score 1-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter.  

M-A finally had a successful attack with a goal from junior Dylan Scirpo with 3:20 left in the first quarter. Possession changed hands for a while until Scirpo won a penalty for the Bears that senior Vaughn Freiermuth put in the back of the net giving the Bears a 2-1 lead. 

Once again the Bears won the swim-off as the second quarter started. Freiermuth scored his second goal of the game after great passing from the Bears’ offense set him up. Both teams continued to attack, but neither could find the back of the net. The half ended at 3-1 with the Bears leading. 

After the game, Scirpo said, “We felt great about the lead going into the second half, but we knew that Woodside was not going to stop pushing, our coach told us that we needed to stay focused until the final buzzer.”

The second half started with a jump ball being called on the swim-off, which the Bears ended up winning. Possession went back and forth until Woodside struck with 5:52 left in the 3rd quarter making the score 3-2. 

The Bears stayed aggressive with multiple close chances until Freiermuth struck again, completing his hat trick with 4:32 left in the third quarter. The Wildcats didn’t give up and forced junior goalkeeper Arman Azadpour to make a diving save, which Woodside followed up and scored, cutting the Bears lead down to one with 3:07 left in the third quarter.

After a Bears’ timeout, junior Kieran Narayan scored a goal which helped the Bears make it to the end of the quarter leading 5-3.  

The fourth quarter started with another swim off being called and M-A won once again. Neither team could find a goal and the Wildcats were beginning to get very physical. M-A took another timeout with 5:41 left in the game. After the timeout, Scirpo scored another goal but had it called back for a push-off. The Bears still led with 3:30 left in the game.

The Bears started to get unlucky with calls and went down a man after Freiermuth got ejected. The Wildcats took a timeout to design a play and take advantage of being up a man. They found the back of the net making it 5-4 with three minutes left. 

The Bears were frantically defending their lead as the Wildcats tried everything to score. Scirpo scored with 42 seconds left extending the Bears lead to two.

Woodside sent up their goalie and played up a man. Their first shot was blocked but their second found its way into the back of the net, putting the Bears in the lead 6-5 with six seconds left.

The Bears held on until the final buzzer and secured the 6-5 victory in dramatic fashion. 

Junior Casey Watkins later said, “To beat one of our rivals in a playoff game makes it extra special for sure, I am just so proud of the team and how we fought today, there were a lot of tough times but we got through it together.”

The team will return to the pool tomorrow at 7 p.m. to take on the Archbishop Mitty Monarchs in the CCS semifinals.

Michael is a senior at M-A and is in his second year in journalism. He enjoys writing about sports. In his free time, Michael likes to play soccer, surf, and mountain bike.

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